With these shifts, what can CRE Companies do to stay competitive and ensure they capture the rapidly growing demand?
Out-of-the-Box Properties and Business Plans – The report states that this year investors plan to increase their focus on mixed-use properties, nontraditional products and retail developments. Flexible leases and business spaces are also going to be an attractive investment.
Adaptability – Investors will be looking for the companies that can quickly respond to the rapidly changing waters of the CRE business world, whether it be with new business models or by adopting “a variety of technologies to make buildings future-ready.”
Tech-savvy presence – To attract potential investors, companies need to be able to stay shoulder to shoulder with technology and present technological agility in the way they market their properties and in their business plans.
Catering to investor and tenant needs should move CRE companies to have a different perspective on the way they do business. By increasing mixed-use, nontraditional and retail products in their portfolios, becoming more adaptable to the changes in the industry and using technological advancements in their favor, CRE companies can change with the industry and be ready for the future to come.
Two Class A industrial buildings – totaling 135,000 SF and 185,000 SF – are ready for occupancy at Rockdale Technology Center, Ackerman & Co.’s newest state-of-the-art industrial development.
Located east of Atlanta in Conyers, Ga., the state-of-the-art industrial park will ultimately offer 1 million square feet of the highest-quality distribution space available in Atlanta’s I-20 East submarket.
Ackerman is targeting e-commerce operations, technology companies, medical companies and logistic providers, among other users. The multi-phase development will house space users that will bring hundreds of jobs to the city of Conyers, Ga.
Brett Buckner, who is leading leasing efforts at the development, recently met up with Rockdale County Board of Commissioners Chairman Oz Nesbitt to discuss the development that has Rockdale County residents talking.
A video of the interview and a written recap are below:
Oz Nesbitt: I’m here at Rockdale Technology Center, 2430 Dogwood Drive, at the long-anticipated opening of this facility. People all over our county have been asking, “Mr. Chairman, what’s happening with Rockdale Technology Center?”
Brett, tell us about the decision to come to Rockdale County.
Brett Buckner: We bought a property down the road about a year ago. And when we got into the market we figured out there’s a niche here for shallow-bay type properties. So we purchased, about a year ago, 92 acres here to build shallow-bay buildings, meaning buildings that are short in depth. This lets us offer as little as 10,000 square feet and up to 135,000 square feet for this building and up to 185,000 square feet in the other building.
Oz Nesbitt: Tell us about the technology piece and how and why you landed on that particular name.
Brett Buckner: It was really a decision with several different people within the company and we thought the name technology, added with the great county we’re in, Rockdale, would attract not only manufacturers that are already out here but also people in the technology business. But we’re not just focused on those two industries. We also have warehouse properties that can accommodate some logistics and also medical-type companies as well.
Oz Nesbitt: You have a prime location. Tell us about I-20 and accessibility, being right here on a frontage road in Rockdale County on Dogwood Drive.
Brett Buckner: When we purchased the property, one of the things that attracted us to the site was the visibility, right here in front of this building. We hope to attract some tenants that can take advantage of that. We can accommodate somebody that needs the visibility or somebody that needs to have just pure warehouse/distribution as well.
Oz Nesbitt: So, Brett, we focused on the four “E’s” here in Rockdale County – Economic development, efficiency, execution and education. Tell me about the interaction with local county government and how they helped you get from point A to point Z. How was that experience for you and your company?
Brett Buckner: When we first started, we met with Marty Jones (executive director at Conyers Rockdale Economic Development Council) and Gina Hartsell (Film Rockdale project manager). They’ve been terrific to work with since the beginning, which was over a year ago. They’ve introduced us to tenants in the area as well as state-run projects. From a development standpoint, they’ve been absolutely terrific. We’re so pleased to be here.
As summer arrives, so does a new group of interns at Ackerman!
We recently sat down with our interns to discuss how they plan on applying their newly gained experience in the future.
“I’m very excited to be here,” said Emma Lonergan, who is working in the Marketing & Communications department. She is an incoming junior at Georgia College and State University. “I’m learning so much I can apply to my college classes and later in my career.”
Projects she’s working on with Fara Wilson and the marketing team include updating the organization of the promotional items inventory, which she will track and monitor throughout the summer. She’s also working on editorial assignments, including blog writing.
Also joining Ackerman’s Marketing team for the summer is Ellis Snell, who will be assisting in the department’s day-to-day activities and select projects. Ellis is headed to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) as a freshman this fall.
Harrison Bernhardt, an intern with the Brokerage team, tells us he looks forward to applying everything he learns this summer to his future dream job in commercial real estate. An incoming senior at the University of Georgia, he’s learning a lot from the brokers he’s working with, including how to knock on doors to canvas potential clients.
“I realized that real estate was a better fit for me than finance, my original major in college, because I enjoy working in the field and meeting people face-to-face,” he said.
All three Brokerage interns are gaining valuable experience learning commercial real estate research programs as they help our brokers in their ongoing lease and sales efforts. That includes using CoStar, LandVision and other research tools to summarize market trends, prepare lease comparables and access various details on individual properties and owners.
Bart, Connor and Harrison are also getting a first-hand look at the types of projects Ackerman develops. They recently attended a BBQ event and tour at Rockdale Technology Center, the firm’s newest Class A industrial park. Connor and Harrison were responsible for transporting our brokerage guests across the park, and they assisted the Marketing team in setting up and closing down the event.
Alex Barnes (not pictured), an incoming junior at Georgia College and State University, is one of the interns supporting the HR department this summer.
He recently attended the company’s open enrollment benefits session, where he learned about the different healthcare and benefit options available to employees.
“This was incredibly eye-opening,” Alex said. “I was unaware of all the complexities involved in selecting healthcare coverage and the wide-ranging costs.” He’ll be able to call on this knowledge when he enters the workforce and goes through the process of selecting his own insurance.
It’s great to have these bright-eyed and bushy-tailed interns on board with us this summer. We have every confidence they’ll succeed in their future careers!
The combination of job growth and the surge in GDP during the long-running economic recovery has been a boon to the commercial real estate sector.
In Atlanta and across the country, there has been continued strong demand and absorption for virtually all product types, and capital has been readily available for investment.
But will the good times continue? What next?
That was the focus of Ackerman & Co.’s recently held 12th Annual Investor Conference, attended by some 150 guests, including owners, operators, investors and brokers.
Host Kris Miller and keynote speaker David Haddow weighed in with their perspective on current economic trends and their outlook for the commercial real estate sector. Joining them with in-depth discussions of investment opportunities for specific product types were F. Keene Miller (Brokerage), Leo Wiener (Retail), Brett Buckner (Industrial) and Evan Ziegler (Investments).
“After the last two years of success, growth and prosperity, the numbers would suggest that the future of commercial real estate has never been brighter. Yet each of us feels less certain than we did two years ago. Why? Is that how we should feel?” asked Kris Miller.
There are causes for concern, said David Haddow. Current economic soft spots, he said, include the rising national debt (now at $21.6 trillion, an increase of $10 trillion since 2008), government gridlock, fast-rising home prices and diminishing consumer confidence. Combined with those issues, the length of the current cycle (nearly 10 years) makes an economic correction more likely in the next 24 months, Kris added.
How should investors respond? Here are the three biggest takeaways provided by Kris and his Ackerman & Co. colleagues:
Stay on the field.
Focus on the specific strengths and weaknesses of each deal – rather than macro conditions across property types or markets.
Adopt a bias toward selling.
The annual conference also provided guests an opportunity to learn about Ackerman & Co.’s 2018 business highlights as well as its goals for the coming year.
Last year’s highlights included Ackerman’s $70-million sale of Braselton Logistics Center to Uline Inc.; the $9.75-million acquisition of the four-building Warren Drive industrial portfolio in Atlanta; the completion of the 181-key Crowne Plaza Hotel in North Augusta; and the $15-million disposition of seven industrial buildings at Stone Mountain Industrial Park, to name a few.
Kris and the team thank everyone for attending despite the rare winter-weather advisory in Atlanta!
The Land Group, a brokerage team made up of land experts from Ackerman & Co. and the Pioneer Land Group, has represented owners in land sales that have paved the way for many noteworthy housing and commercial real estate developments across the Southeast.
The Group’s $300+ million in transactions is a direct result of their expertise in:
Carrying out a creative marketing strategy
Addressing key site challenges needed to close transactions and maximize land value
Applying proven negotiating skills
Leveraging strong relationships with developers and users to identify prospective buyers
The end result is a consistent track record of completing a high percentage of sales above the asking price for land owners.
Now let’s introduce you to the team that’s been so successful completing these deals:
John Speros, senior vice president of brokerage and leader of the Ackerman Land Group. With nearly 30 years of commercial real estate experience, John focuses on high-profile land parcels in major growth corridors of Atlanta and the Southeast. He has been honored twice with the Alvin B. Cates Award for the most significant and outstanding commercial real estate transaction in Atlanta.
John Thomas Speros (JT) – JT provides expertise needed to complete land deals, including analysis, underwriting, research and an in-depth understanding of current supply and demand factors.
Kyle Grable – Kyle, an experienced land broker at the Pioneer Land Group, is a valued partner with extensive experience completing sales and acquisitions. He provides clients crucial information on the many variables that impact the viability of a parcel of land targeted for development.
The complementary skills of the team enables them to succeed at their core mission: to maximize pricing for clients.
Next up – we’ll detail some of the Land Group’s biggest and most influential transactions!
Ackerman & Co. is one of the top commercial real estate companies in the Southeast with more than 35 million square feet of office, medical, retail and mixed-used space developed, nearly 8 million square feet more under management, an investment portfolio valued at more than $1 billion and a widespread presence that leverages the experience of more than 100 real estate professionals.